Hansard: NA: Mini-Plenary (Debate on Vote 25 )
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 30 May 2023
No summary available.
MINI PLENARY - NATIONAL ASSEMBLY TUESDAY, 30 MAY 2023
VOTE NO 25 – JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
PROCEEDINGS OF HYBRID MINI-PLENARY – GOOD HOPE CHAMBER
Watch: Mini-Plenary (Debate on Vote 25 )
Members of the mini-plenary session met at Good Hope Chamber at 10:00.
The House Chairperson Mr M L D Ntombela took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
Debate on Vote 25 - Justice and Constitutional Development:
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Hon House Chairperson, the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, John Jeffery, Ministers and Deputy Ministers from sister departments, hon members of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, members of the National Council for Correctional Services, members of the Parole
Boards, judges of our courts across the country, ladies and gentlemen.
It is a great honour to table the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development budget.
I also take this opportunity to extend warm congratulations to Madam Justice Mahube Betty Molemela, who has been appointed by the President as the Supreme Court President of Appeal, effective from 1 June 2023. We wish her well in executing her duties.
On this day 30 years ago, the Appellate Division delivered one of the most significant judgments which dealt a massive blow to the apartheid scheme of racial segregation in the famous case of Oos-Randse Administrasieraad en ‘n Ander v Rikhoto.
Apartheid condemned black families to live in rural areas remote from decent employment. Black men who found work in urban centres had to leave their families behind. If a man was employed continuously for ten years at an exact location, he could claim that place as his permanent residence and his wife could join him.
However, employers gave workers successive annual contracts of employment. The then government ruled that ten subsequent yearly contracts at the exact location were not continuous employment for ten years and did not entitle the worker’s family to join him.
This law hurt and disembowelled thousands of black family units and black people who could not access permanent resident rights in the country of their birth. To date, the country’s family unit is still reeling from the apartheid government policies that were aimed at disintegrating black families.
The judgment in Rikhoto delivered by the then Appellate Division on this day in 1983 reversed this racist policy. It held that ten successive annual contracts were ten years of continuous employment.
Let us acknowledge the lasting effects of this momentous decision on members of our communities and work together towards upholding justice and equality for all. Our past decisions have influenced our present, but we can collaborate to strive towards a brighter future.
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development plays a pivotal role, serving as a driving force behind the new society we desire to create through the lens of our Constitution.
As Minister of Justice and Correctional Services since 2019, Deputy Minister Jeffery and I have been working hard to address our department’s many challenges. Unfortunately, external factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, ransomware attacks and power outages have harmed our progress.
Despite these obstacles, our efforts have yielded positive results. We have seen an overall improvement in the department’s performance with notable increases. In the 2022-23 financial year, the department’s performance has increased to over 80%. The department’s performance has increased by 30%. The performance increase is significant compared to our Department’s performance in the 2019-20 financial year.
This improvement in the performance must now be translated to the actual realities our people face on a day to day when they look for our services or accessing our services. We have to
cut the queues, the bureaucratic red tape that affect access to justice.
Today we table our budget for the financial year 2023/24 which amounts to R23,2 billion. The budget will enable the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to uphold and protect the Constitution and the rule of law and render accessible, fair, speedy and cost-effective administration of justice in the interests of a safer and more secure South Africa.
The budget allocation to the department is imperative for promoting safer communities and instilling trust in our criminal justice system. It will enable us to enhance our criminal justice system and effectively apprehend and prosecute criminals who threaten individuals and communities.
We have outlined several priorities to achieve in our 2023-24 financial year. These include strengthening institutions involved in fighting crime and corruption, implementing modernisation and digitisation initiatives, increasing access to justice, transforming the legal profession, systematically addressing gender-based violence and femicide, GBVF,
safeguarding the human rights of vulnerable groups and dismantling outdated apartheid and colonial era legislation.
We should not be deceived by the prophets of doom that we’re a failed state. Where there are challenges we must confront them, we can’t bury our heads in the sand.
Let me quote from Steven Friedman when he wrote:
The failed state prejudice hides the fact that in many countries including this one, states do some things well even if they do many others badly. The South African state may get much wrong, but it has free and fair elections, independent courts and enables its citizens to enjoy basic freedoms, even if only some have the means to enjoy them. This makes a real difference to people’s lives. Millions living with HIV and AIDS are alive today, only because democracy’s freedoms enable activists to fight for them. And so, when there are huge problems, there are also possibilities for change which the failed state chorus cannot see.
We have to rise and resolve the challenges that this country is facing.
Making this country into one in which everyone enjoys the rights which being the citizen of a state is meant to offer may seem like a tall order. But it becomes impossible if we allow ourselves to be misled by a prejudices posing as science.
Today marks the beginning of the court in Malawi to decide whether Messiers Shipilero Gama well known as Shepperd Bushiri and his wife are extraditable to South Africa or not. The relevant officials are in Malawi to give evidence as per the requirements of the courts of Malawi. We will await the outcomes of the hearing. This is a matter of national interest to the South African government and this shows that the wheels of justice are turning.
We also commend the police for the swift arrest of a fugitive, Rwandan national, who was arrested here, wanted by the International Crimes Court. We will await the court processes.
The South African government is firmly committed to fighting crime, fraud and corruption. We have allocated a significant portion of our budget towards this critical mission. We must invest in this effort to ensure its success.
To combat crime, fraud and corruption, the National Prosecution Authority’s, NPA, overall allocation for 2023-24 amounts to R5,4 billion. This amount includes the additional grant of R950 Million made by government to strengthen our efforts in fighting crime and corruption. The Investigative Directorate, ID, is allocated a portion of R360 million out of the overall allocation.
The National Prosecution Authority and Special Investigating Unit, SIU, enforce accountability for crime and maladministration.
Notably, they have made significant progress in investigating corruption-related cases. To further secure this mission, government proposes new policies and legislative amendments to protect whistle-blowers and enhance the powers of the Investigating Directorate.
The National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, effectively deals with over 850 000 criminal cases yearly, with over 600 000 on court dockets. The progress made by the NPA is evident in the numbers and the success it has recorded. It is encouraging to see that they are growing from strength to strength. Although there have been some setbacks, they are not insurmountable and plans are in place to address them.
Holding individuals accountable for their actions is essential. The increase in signed proclamations and civil action instituted in the high courts and the Special Tribunal is a positive sign. The Special Investigating Unit is also doing a great job investigating allegations of corruption and maladministration in government departments, municipalities and state-owned entities, SOEs.
Ensuring the protection of whistle-blowers is also very critical in the wheels of justice. Therefore, it is imperative to implement strong measures to safeguard them. Extensive research and evaluation of the protected disclosures and witness protection legislation in South Africa has uncovered gaps and shortcomings in the current system.
The department conducted a comparative analysis with other jurisdictions to ensure adequate and effective whistle-blower protection. According to our research, there are better ways to promote organisational transparency and accountability that we are looking into.
We intend to release the research paper for public comment in June. The research paper includes recommendations such as providing legal assistance to whistle-blowers, enhancing internal policy oversight and creating a fund for those experiencing retaliations with financial implications.
The National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill seeks to amend the legislation to make the Investigating Directorate a permanent agency in the NPA and not one created and disbanded by proclamations. The Bill also enhance the powers of the ID.
By addressing the challenges and the findings of Financial Action Task Force, FAFT, government has introduced new laws to address FATF findings and enhance its capacity to prosecute financial crimes.
The Regulation of Trusts Bill seeks to regulate the establishment of trusts and provide for legislative measures on par with the current socioeconomic, jurisprudential and practical landscapes in which trusts are created and operated.
Additionally, the SIU and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, CSIR, are collaborating to enhance the use of technology to fight the scourge of corruption and maladministration in the country.
The department is committed to developing partnerships in the public service, the private sector, professional bodies, media and international networking to mobilise all sectors to engage in this fight.
Implementation of the modernisation and digitisation program. The Department of Justice is taking proactive steps towards modernising and digitising its services to better service the public, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a focus on upgrading its Information Technology, IT, infrastructure, the department invests in state-of-the-art data centre equipment and essential business applications such as MojaPay and Integrated Case Management System, ICMS, and
the Online Services Portals. The department has also implemented innovative Court Audio Visual Solutions, enabling parties to appear in court via video, eliminating the need for physical presence.
To further streamline its systems the department has connected
11 government departments’ entities to the Integrated Justice System Transversal Hub Connectivity, which has successfully implemented a new system catering to enhanced person integration messages.
The department has developed and piloted six online services as part of its ongoing efforts to improve them. During this financial year, the department is committed to piloting even more online services such as online master’s services and online protection orders.
Through its commitment to modernisation and digitisation, the department seeks to enhance access to justice services and improve efficiency, making it easier for the public to obtain the help they need. By investing in new technologies, the department stays at the forefront of the digital age,
providing safe and reliable services that meet the country’s needs.
Increasing access to justice. The department has allocated R589 million for its Minimum Service Standards initiative, which aims to provide court users with disabilities reasonable access to the courts. The initiative requires 70 courts to comply with universal access standards for individuals with disabilities in the 2022-23 financial year.
Officials from these courts have received training on disability rights and how to meet the needs of persons with disabilities.
Former Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke led the committee on the Rationalisation of the High Courts, which has completed the first phase of determining the areas over which the main and local seats of every division of the high courts must exercise jurisdiction.
The committee will commence Phase 2 in June 2023 to evaluate the judicial establishment of each division of the high court
to ensure an equitable distribution of judicial posts across all the divisions.
I am pleased to announce that the Legal Aid SA Means Test has changed to allow more people to access justice. From 01 April 2023, applicants falling under Regulation 27(2)(6) of the Legal Aid SA Act 39 of 2014 faced a higher Means Test.
The Extension of Security of Tenure Act, ESTA, Eviction matters will also have a new Means Test set at R13,625 under the ESTA Act. These changes aim to ensure a fair and accessible legal system for all individuals.
The department has taken great initiatives to improve the justice system. The department has prepared three Bills to improve the administration of justice: The Judicial Matters Amendment Bill, the Divorce Amendment Bill and the South African Judicial Education Institute Amendment Bill. These Bills will bring about effective changes and improve the legal system.
We will also expand our capacity to address the impact of loadshedding in our courts. As of March 2023, 120 courts
across the country are equipped with generators or alternative power supply. To ensure that disruptions to court activities resulting from load shedding are kept to a minimum, the Department of Justice has registered additional projects to install generators with Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, at various service points. The projects are at different phases of implementation.
Transformed of the Legal Profession. The legal profession is undergoing significant changes in our country, thanks to the efforts of the department. The Legal Practice Council has registered many black legal professionals, including women from disadvantaged communities. We aim to distribute briefs more equitably and recognise those instrumental in bringing about this change.
We are committed to supporting programs like Free Wills Week and expanding them to include free estate advice for disadvantaged individuals. In the last financial year, PDI legal practitioners received 83% of briefs, female practitioners received 28% and women received 40% from the Office of the State Attorney. This can be verified through the
website of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development that keeps real time data on these stats.
We call upon other organs of state to follow suite and the private sector to follow suite and publish their briefing patterns in line with what we have demonstrated.
Systemically addressing gender-based violence and femicide. We have implemented Phase 2 of the Femicide Watch, which aims to tackle gender-based violence and femicide. The department has developed a user-friendly dashboard which enables us to identify systemic issues within national laws and policies across all state departments. Phase 6’s efforts to establish a National Strategy for Domestic Violence Court-based support services and measure the percentage of domestic violence protection orders submitted within four hours are praiseworthy.
The legislation to repeal provisions that criminalise sex work, the Deputy Minister is going speak about it that we published for public inputs with regard to the Bill and our findings.
Dismantling apartheid and colonial-era legislation. The South African Law Reform Commission will work diligently with all concerned parties to prepare the Bill to modernise and review the Criminal Procedure Act.
The unconstitutional Riotous Assemblies Act will be a significant focus and we are confident its repeal and replacement will succeed.
We are also actively addressing the unconstitutional findings of the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication Related Information Act.
The International Co-operation in Criminal Matters Amendment and Extradition Bill has been prepared and is ready for introduction. However, its introduction is pending time allowance and other priorities. Let us hope it will be introduced soon and help fight against criminal activities.
With this budget the department and its entities will carry out their constitutional and statutory mandates confidently and efficiently. This budget enables the department and its entities to execute this statutory responsibility.
The department remains committed to promoting access to economic and business opportunities to Qualifying Small Enterprises, QSEs, and Exempted Micro Enterprises, EMEs. In the latest financial year, the department allocated 71% of its discretionary procurement to these qualifying small, medium and micro enterprises, SMMEs.
The finance branch will continue to support the department by allocating 40% of discretionary procurement to women-owned businesses. This commitment demonstrates the department’s commitment to promoting equal opportunities within the procurement process and supporting a diverse range of companies.
We take great pride in our commitment to supporting Broad- Based Black Economic Empowerment, BBBEE, compliant businesses. In the financial year 2022-23 we were pleased to report that 91% of our procurement addressable spend was companies that met the criteria of being classified as BEE.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the Deputy Minister, John Jeffery, for his continued support in leading the programmes in the administration of the justice portfolio, Director-
General Advocate Doc Mashabane and the senior management, the middle management and all staff of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development for their tireless efforts. A special thanks goes to heads and chairpersons of statutory bodies, distinguished members of the legal profession and our social partners. I thank you.
Mr Q R DYANTYI: Chairperson, and thank you Minister, for that comprehensive plan you’ve put forward. Let me greet everybody else, all our colleagues, I stand in for the chairperson hon Magwanishe. I want to wish him good luck today as he writes his exams.
We were highly dissatisfied by aspects of the justice plan. The department listened and revised its plan accordingly and of course there are still areas that we're monitoring as we go forward. We observed that the department continues to have many challenges, especially on the ground. We believe that with better planning and risk mitigation, the department will be at a better place to tackle challenges it faces.
We're concerned about key vacancies at senior management level, notably the positions of chief master, deputy director-
general, DDG, court services, DDG constitutional development and head of the Justice College, and we've asked the department to report on what it is doing to fill these vacancies expeditiously.
On a positive note, we are, however pleased to welcome Mr. Jabulani Hlatswayo to the position of DDG information and communications technology. The appointment is made as the department seeks to reduce its dependence on outsourced contract information, communication and technology, ICT, staff, strengthen its internalized infrastructure and capacity following a devastating cyber-attack, and ramp up its virtualization program.
We know that the department intends to implement its turnaround strategy this year and we will monitor the progress. The impact on court operations of crumbling, even dangerous infrastructure is significant and ongoing. These conditions are not conducive to service delivery.
The department has attempted to address some of the challenges, for example, by engaging with the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to raise the delegation for
day-to-day maintenance delegation from 100 000 to 1 million per incident.
However, in our view, the situation requires an extensive rethinking of the manner in which the state goes about seeing to its capital works program. In other words, this is more of a government focused problem and not just a Department of Justice issue.
We remain concerned by the growing case backlogs, which have been described as insurmountable and pose a risk to the entire justice system. We welcome the new directives in terms of the Domestic Violence Act 2021 as progressive. These directives impose stricter duties on court officials when dealing with cases of domestic violence. You better listen here, it’s about domestic violence, Paulsen.
The department has also included several new indicators to measure court-based support services in domestic violence matters, which we will closely monitor. We remain concerned by the ... [Interjections.] ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Dyantyi, there is a point of order. Will you please take your seat? Hon Paulsen, what’s the point of order?
Mr M N PAULSEN: Hon Chairperson, will the member be prepared to take a question?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Are you prepare to take a question hon Dyantyi?
Mr Q R DYANTYI: I have no time to waste, so I’ll continue.
Mr M N PAULSEN: I just want to ask about the R600 000 bribe.
Mr Q R DYANTYI: We remain concerned by a deplorable state of postal services and have asked for further details about the plan to transform the Master’s office. We urge the department to finalize the position of the solicitor-general so that the recruitment process can begin, including capacitating that space. It's a very crucial space.
We welcome the approval of various policies and relating to the state litigation. These policies are targeted for
implementation in 2023/24. We welcome the implementation of a pilot project. The program for legal empowerment and access to justice, which will provide financial support to community advice offices. The lessons learned will be used to develop policy for the sustainable of the sector. This is important for this person who's speaking here, I was a volunteer of an advice office.
This is where I learnt to do a typewriter kind of work. My first interaction with the world of work was at an advice office. We think this is a very important pilot project because I learned paralegal in that space many years ago.
We note the department's plan to implement various online solutions in 2023/24 but are concerned about the connectivity challenges on the ground. We note that the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA is allocated an additional
R1,3 billion over the medium term to support the implementation of the State Capture Commission and financial action task force recommendations.
In a positive development, the number of Thuthuzela Care Centres, TCCs, has increased from 55 to 62. Going forward, the
NPA's working with the private sector to set up more TCCs. Legal Aid, South Africa continues to struggle with funding with a reduced recruitment rate. The shortage of legal aid practitioners is contributing to the increased number of case backlogs in criminal courts.
Also, fewer clients can be assisted in civil matters and with advice. We believe that the importance of Legal Aid South Africa as a strategic partner in our criminal justice system is not fully recognized when decisions are made concerning the allocation of resources. We need to work towards changing that.
We're also concerned that the transfer of the legal representation function in land matters from the Department of Agriculture, Land, Reform and the Rural development to Legal Aid South Africa, specifically, Legal Aid South Africa inherited 740 files with a contingent liability of
144,7 million but no funding has been made available for this, which is unacceptable because they are now expected to do an unfunded job.
We agree that the Special Investigating Unit, SIU's funding model must be addressed. We urge the finalization of the legislative amendments that will address the establishment of a permanent, independent SIU funding concerns and the monitoring and enforcement of remedial action.
Regrettably, in 65% of cases, the Public Protector’s remedial action is not followed and no application for judicial review is instituted. The Public Protector South Africa, PPSA, has begun to submit the remedial reports to the National Assembly quarterly and in 2023-2024, intends to extend these submissions to the National Council of Provinces and provincial legislatures.
The Public Protector Act is outdated. The proposed amendments include a criminal charge of contempt of the Public Protector for those who do not implement the remedial action of the Public Protector and have not applied for judicial review.
In other words, if you are not applying for regional review, you must implement the remedial action. You can't have it both ways, and we know there are certain culprits that are continuing to do that. We have repeatedly said that both the
South African Human Rights Commission and the Public Protector are underfunded.
These institutions form part of the architecture of our state. It is imperative that they be reasonably funded so that they can play their constitutionally mandated roles in support of our democracy. In our view, the funding allocated does not reflect an understanding of how important these institutions are.
We're pleased to see that information regulator’s work is beginning to gain traction and we also note two recent enforcement notices, one, being against the Justice Department and the other against SA Police Service, SAPS, in relation to the alleged rape of the of the eight ...
Failure to comply with the notice and offense and can on conviction lead to imprisonment or a fine, or both. The committee, having considered the annual performance plans 2023/24 of the Department of Justice Constitutional Development, the NPA, the Legal Aid South Africa, Public Protector South Africa, South African Human Rights Commission,
and the Information Regulator, recommends that they be approved.
The committee having considered the Budget Vote 25, Justice and Constitutional Development, supports it and recommends that it be approved and so we move and have left time for both hon Xola and Kgomotso.
Adv G BREYTENBACH: Thank you, hon House Chairperson, we also would like to extend our good wishes to the hon Magwanishe with his exams. We hope he does very well and Mr Dyantyi just as an aside we don’t believe those stories that are abrupt for one moment. We know you would never settle for R200 000.
Hon House Chairperson, it is with deep concern that we must today address the performance for the rather the lack of performance of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and its Minister. While the portfolio committee has the great privilege to work with dedicated officials, some of whom are here today doing their very best. The same cannot always be said of the Minister. While the Minister is great at making promises and delivering plans on paper, he has been unable to put them into operation and has focused on attempting to propel his own personal career within his party
rather than make a success of the job he was given. This means that each term of office cannot be seen as a stellar success story.
We hope, Mr Minister, that the Bushiri extradition goes better than the Gupta one. And just as an aside, four Bulgarians shot in Constantia before we can extradite them is not a success story. It’s a failure of law and order. The Department of Justice is tasked with upholding the Constitution, the rule of law, ensuring access to justice and ensuring that justice is served fairly and equally to all citizens. The department and the Minister have failed in this duty, and South Africans are far worse off now than they were five-years-ago. Nought has come of the great plans that have been held up in this House.
One of the most pressing issues facing our justice system, is rampant corruption that is infiltrated every level of government and society. Despite an endless number of high- profile corruption cases, very few of them have been held accountable for their actions. Certainly, none of the high- profile kingpins have been held to account. This sends a clear message to the public that those in power are above the law and that justice is only available to those with enough money
and influence. It demonstrates unequivocally that well connected people can avoid accountability and the low hanging fruit are the only ones held accountable.
In addition to corruption, our justice system is plagued by lack of resources, including inadequate funding and staffing. This has resulted in a constantly growing backlog of cases, with many accused individuals waiting years for their day in court. This backlog is particularly egregious in the case of the gender-based violence, where survivors often wait for years to see their perpetrators brought to justice.
The Department’s response to these challenges have been inadequate at best, and negligent at worst. They are constantly confronted with failures that could easily have been avoided by doing the obvious. IT and other vital systems are paralysed by lack of maintenance and an apparent inability to ensure that proper contract management is in place.
The recent smackdown from the information regulators, an indication of this state of affairs. Maintenance issues are not attended to, and the result are obvious. The collapse of the roof of the Potchefstroom Magistrates Court is a telling
example and is still not being repaired. Last week, no toilet facilities were available at all at the Cape Town Regional Court. Shocking, shocking indictment on the department.
At a meeting last week of the portfolio committee to address these shortcomings with the Minister and the Minister of Public Works, it was disappointing but not surprising. When the Minister of Justice could find no space in his diary to attend. Leaving the newly appointed Minister of Public Works to carry the can alone. This lack of action has resulted in the crisis of confidence now justice system, with many citizens losing faith in the ability of the department and its Minister to uphold the rule of law. This has a ripple effect throughout society and undermines the legitimacy of our government and erodes public trust in our institutions.
The performance of the Master’s Office remains abysmal. One only has to refer to the long queues forming daily at the master’s offices throughout the country. To understand that the entire edifice of the master’s Offices nationally has all but ceased to function. The Minister’s answer to this is to appoint an acting Chief Master who has no powers and is by all accounts not qualified for the position.
This crisis of confidence is particularly acute amongst vulnerable populations, including women, children and LGBTQ, plus individuals who are often disproportionately affected by corruption, violence and the backlog of cases. No discussion of the performance of the department would be complete without reference to the National Prosecuting Authority. The NPA is responsible for prosecuting criminal cases in our country and ensuring that justice is served.
However, the NPA has not succeeded in gaining the confidence of South Africans that it is capable or even improving its capability to deal with high-profile matters, and corruption in particular. The NPA has been probably slow to act on cases leading to long delays in justice. In many instances, cases they've dragged on through the years and some cases have been dismissed altogether due to a lack of process. This not only denies justice to victims of these crimes but creates a culture of impunity for criminals. It undoubtedly makes the game seem with the candle, and we are not winning.
South Africans do not feel safe in their own country, nor even in their own homes. In addition to these issues, the NPA has been operating under severe lack of resources and capacity.
This has resulted in a growing backlog of cases and the response to this has been inadequate. Despite repeated calls for reform, the NPA has failed to take decisive action to address internal corruption, slow progress on cases in the backlog. This failure has undermined public trust in the NPA and the justice system as a whole, creating a crisis of confidence that will be very difficult to dispel.
We also acknowledge freely that there have been many dedicated hard work prosecutors who go to work each day and do their best and under exceptionally difficult conditions. They keep the wheels of justice turning and achieve some notable successes. To them, we convey our heartfelt thanks. In order to regain public trust and confidence and improve in rather tarnished image, the NPA must take steps to ensure these cases are prosecuted much more speedily. Additionally, the NPA must be provided with the resources and capacity needed to address the backlog of cases and speed up progress of ongoing cases.
The NPA must prioritise cases involving violence against women and children, ensuring that survivors are not left waiting for justice for years.
During his budget speech last year, the Minister told us that the judiciary had submitted the institutional models report to the executive in 2013, wherein their preferred Court administration model was outlined. As part of his commitment to implement the National Development Plan 2030 and also to respond to the judiciary, he told us that he intended during this past financial year to approach Cabinet to finalise this outstanding matter. Not surprisingly, this has not yet been finalised.
The Minister has not succeeded in restoring faith in our justice system and this will be his legacy. He will be remembered for failing when he had a duty to do so, to take steps to protect citizens after the escape of convicted serial rapist and murderer. This, Minister, it’s a good time for you to reflect and in a very limited time you have left to do better? I Thank you.
Ms Y N YAKO: Thank you very much, Chairperson, I’m standing in front of you today as one of the foot soldiers of the most dynamic, the most ideologically advanced political movement in this country in the continent and in the world today. The Economic Freedom Fighters is the movement of the poor, the
downtrodden, a representative of the domestic workers, patrol attendants, mine workers, security guards, cleaners and gardeners. The EFF is turning 10-years-old this year on the 26th of July.
In the spirit of the struggle for economic freedom and justice in our lifetime of the struggle for socialism in this country and across the entire world, we do reject this uninspired budget vote. We do this because access to justice has become an elusive dream for millions of our people, for whom courts remain out of reach because of the exorbitant costs it takes for one to access justice.
The Minister is going to come and say that the Legal Aid Board is meant to enable the poor access to justice. But he knows clearly well. That while the legal board as competent staff who obviously know the law, these people are often overworked and poorly managed.
There’s no thorough preparation for cases because of this pressure placed on legal aid attorneys. The Minister has known this for years and yet nothing has been done to ensure that
the Board is probably staffed to guarantee quality legal representation for our people.
Chairperson, after the lockdowns were imposed to manage the spread of COVID, we've seen unprecedented reports of evictions of farmworkers and farm dwellers across the country, but particularly here in the Western Cape. This is because the piece of legislation purported to protect them from these evictions, which is the extension of security of Tenure Act is simply a tool at the hands of farmers to facilitate the eviction of farm workers and dwellers.
But most concerning Minister is that magistrates often collide with farmers and some of them are not properly trained to deal with the eviction matters. What makes things worse is that since the land rights management facility was transferred from the Department of Land Reform to the Legal Aid Board, there’s been no clarity on who must instruct the attorneys to defend those vulnerable to evictions. As a result, the legal Aid Board has not instructed any legal practitioner to defend the rights of those evicted from farms by the racist.
This is your new and your failure of imagination, Minister. The Land Claims Court is itself and absolute in tatters. The acting president of the Land Claims Court is enjoying herself here in Cape Town for most of the time, leaving that court without leadership. Matters are not enrolled for hearings on time and some community matters have been gathering dust in that court for years. We have asked you this. You refuse to provide answers.
The building itself is like a dumping site and no efforts have been taken to ensure that it provides for an intellectually stimulating environment. It is no surprise that, that court has become a tool at the hands of racists who evict our people left, right and centre. They don’t even know how many cases they've heard just over the past five years, because they do not keep records. That court is a disaster and is a shame to our judiciary.
Minister, the NPA has not prosecuted any of the high-profile criminal cases. That should be a low hanging fruit for them in this country. They have told us that they do not possess any capacity to prosecute racist criminals such as Markus Jooste,
and you have also shown us your incompetence by bundling up their so-called reparation of the Gupta family.
The Investigative Directorate is as toothless as the NPA itself. To date, that Directorate has not done any of the things that we expected out of it. Many high-profile criminals are walking around unbothered, and many of them, including their enablers, are walking around with blue lights as Cabinet Ministers in this country.
Your greatest crime, however, must be your complicity in the continued persecution of the public protector. You have stood by, and perhaps tacitly watched the destruction of the Office of the Public Protector in order to save just one person, the Acting Public Protector is simply an extension of your factional battles in the ruling party and is now in that office to protect Mr Ramaphosa and those in your faction, Minister. So, you ought to be really ashamed of yourself in what you've become. We need justice to be accessible to our people and we need it in an emergency.
The NPA must be free of corruption and prosecute without fear or favour because that is the only way we will regain their
dignity. This means that you must abandon that foolish idea, that of allowing foreign funding in the NPA, and we must guard against the independence of the NPA jealously and not sell it off to the highest bidder as you have done, Mr Lamola.
Therefore, we reject this budget vote.
Mr B A RADEBE: Yes, Chairperson I’m rising on Rule 85. The member has just cast aspersion on the character of the Minister by saying that he has sold the NPA to the highest bidder. It must come as a substantive motion.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Radebe, I have noted it. Thank you.
Prof C T MSIMANG: House Chair, hon Minister, and Deputy Minister, hon members, this budget serves as a critical component in our democratic and constitutional cheque and balance order in ensuring that our country upholds the rule of law and protects the rights of all citizens. However, there remain various challenges which must be addressed.
Importantly, these must be done once we simultaneously focus on transforming the judiciary and embrace technology to assist
in alleviating cumbersome court processes related at administrative burden.
Our legal services remain poorly funded and inacceptable to many, which leads in many instances, to a denial of justice. This is patently unconstitutional, and we must ensure that the Legal Aid SA receives adequate funding to provide quality and easily accessible legal services to those in need.
Particularly our most vulnerable groups such as women, children, the elderly, disabled and the poor.
Another perennial challenge we face is the underfunding of the National Prosecuting Authority. The NPA plays a critical role in ensuring that perpetrators of crime are brought to justice. However, the NPA is struggling with insufficient resources.
This leads to case backlogs, lengthy court proceedings and in many instances, unsatisfactory results. We must increase the funding for the NPA to ensure that justice is delivered swiftly and efficiently.
Wildlife crime is a serious growing problem in South Africa that continues to warrant our most urgent attention. Poaching and the illegal trade in wildlife products are having
devastating impacts on our natural resources and biodiversity, as well as on the livelihoods of local communities. To effectively combat wildlife crime, we need specialist wildlife crime courts, prosecutors, and magistrates. The establishment of such specialist wildlife courts, prosecutors, magistrates, will send a strong message that South Africa is serious about combating wildlife crime.
We must also ensure that our courts are representative of the diversity of our society through transformation of our judiciary, and there is adequate training and support for judges and magistrates. Technology must be embraced to assist with alleviating administrative burdens. This will not only improve efficiency, but also reduce cost of administration.
If we turn to the Department of Correctional Services, we still find significant challenges with overcrowding and understaffing in our prisons. This problem leads to poor conditions for inmates and additionally poses security risks. Corruption remains rife and the system needs a full audit and overhaul if we are to make inroads into reducing inmates ... [Inaudible.] ... In conclusion, by addressing these challenges, we can ensure the justice is delivered efficiently
and effectively in our country. The IFP supports this Budget Vote. I thank you.
Mr F J MULDER: Hon House Chair, hon Minister Lamola and Deputy Minister Jeffery, to the official minority present in the House today on my right, and on my left to the official multiparty coalition government in waiting, let me share the slogan of the FF Plus with you today. It is N P van Wyk Louw’s slogan that says, No freedom without justice.
Geen vryheid sonder regverdigheid.
In the debate today, I wish to draw your attention to what the inevitable result is when the five programmes of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development fail to meet its constitutional mandate due to poor governance, not only because of the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in fact also due to the devastating effect of poor governance, state capture and corruption that resulted in substantial budget cuts made in the 2022-23 financial year, limiting the capacity of the department to support and bring cases to
court. When the supporting entities of the department, for example the National Prosecuting Authority, the Special Investigating Unit and the judiciary fail, it results in what I am about to share with the House today.
Our courts are understaffed and overwhelmed. It is not uncommon to be awarded a hearing or trial date, be present in court ready to proceed with the trial, and on the day be told that the trial cannot proceed as there are too few judges in courtrooms. It is not uncommon to sit in a court, ready to proceed with a trial, having obtained both a courtroom and a judge, and being told that the trial cannot proceed as there are too few or no interpreters available for a specific indigenous language.
It is in fact very uncommon that a trial, as scheduled for a specific date would proceed as planned or without any foreseen circumstances causing the postponement thereof. The courts are completely and desperately overburdened by paperwork and caseload, and files are misplaced and go missing on a daily basis. The courts are further understaffed for the loads that they carry, and it is simply a case of too much work for too few hands to carry.
To exacerbate the problems, the courts are notoriously archaic in their methods of dealing with paperwork, in that the large number of courts still rely on physical paper files being held by an office within its building. Documents required to be present in the files are physically filed at court and the court personnel are required to place such physical documents in the said appropriate file. When dealing with a load of files in the millions, this is simply not workable and it seems obvious that files and documents will go missing, without much negligence being involved.
Where the state fails, South African citizens seek alternatives and provide the services that the state is supposed to provide with taxpayers’ money. Many legal practitioners have now taken to favouring alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation rather than traditional litigation. In fact, even the rules of court make it mandatory for litigants to consider mediation, seemingly to alleviate the caseload of the courts. Unfortunately, there are some cases that are simply too contentious to be mediated and many of these get stuck for many years before getting a day in court.
Furthermore, private prosecution is more commonly used than ever before and although the right to private prosecution is not absolute, the right arises when the state has declined to prosecute, which is more commonly the case. All of this with after-taxed money, hon House Chair and Minister, as is the case with education, health care, community safety and electricity, amongst others.
South Africans have to determine their own destiny where the state fails with after-taxed money. This state of affairs is not sustainable and an urgent solution should be found, either with a new dispensation or a new government. Thank you, House Chair.
Mr S N SWART: House Chairperson, hon Minister, the central role of the state is to protect its citizens. Sadly, citizens do not feel safe in their homes, public, at schools or places of employment. We see criminal syndicates targeting our SOEs, such as Eskom and Transnet. We also see so-called construction mafia, preventing much-needed infrastructure being built. This is despite the National Development Plan requiring that the state should build safer communities, promote accountability, and fight corruption, and strengthen judicial governance and
the rule of law. Lawlessness, sadly, seems to be on the increase and, in our view, in the ACDP’s view, the state is failing dismally to protect its citizens.
The detectives are at the crux of the criminal justice system. Poor investigations lead to poor detection and conviction rates. Sadly, there has been a continual decline in detection rates if one considers the Police Annual Report and its Budget Report. That is why the ACDP supports prosecutor-driven criminal investigations, and why we support the amendments that are to be brought to the NPA Act to establish the Investigating Directorate as an independent agency in the NPA. Minister, we need that amendment as soon as possible. It should not be delayed.
Why then, hon Minister, are we then having the department dealing with the proposed decriminalisation of prostitution which the Deputy Minister, I understand, is going to be deal with. May I just also say that Deputy Minister, you have an appalling fashion with scarves. Surely, you had something better to wear. And I would like to just say, Am Yisrael Chai
– the people of Israel live.
As far as it goes with the decriminalisation, Deputy Minister, if we consider what we did in the previous Parliaments, and if one considers the SA Law Reform Commission given, then we are surprised at this proposed amendment that is coming from the Justice Department, given the fact that there are no regulations in place, and given the breakdown of morality and families in our nation – it is staggering. Thankfully, that will only be dealt with by the next Parliament.
I would also like to indicate the ACDP, after meeting with Chief Justice Zondo and the heads of courts, together with other members, the judiciary complained about the long-delayed judiciary-led administration model which has yet to be finalised. Minister, you indicated that this would receive attention, and hopefully that will be finalised before the end of this term.
We are also grateful for the Judicial Matters Bill and expungement of Covid-19 offences which has been considered. Thousands of normally law-abiding citizens who committed trivial offences, and after paying admission of guilt fines, now sit with criminal records, and we were pleased as that cannot be correct and affect employment opportunities.
The ACDP would like to thank all those members at the back, the Director General, DG, and those dedicated police officials, detectives, prosecutors, magistrates and other members of the judiciary who, on a daily basis and under severe financial constraints, deliver justice to our citizens. I thank you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES RESPONSIBLE FOR JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT (Mr J H
Jeffery): I am wearing, Mr Swart, this kufiyeh in solidarity with the human rights of the people of Palestine. It does not have to be one or the other as you like putting it. I am also standing in solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, LGBTIQ+, people from Uganda.
As we enter the last year of the current administration, there is a renewed commitment and a sense of urgency to finalise and complete all the outstanding initiatives and programmes which we had undertaken to do at the start of this administration.
Service delivery and access to justice for all remain utmost priorities for our department. Access to justice is not just access to the courts - it means access to justice services, to be assisted with dignity by efficient justice officials, to
know one’s constitutional rights, how to access these rights and to know where to go when these rights are infringed.
We continue to support and strengthen our magistrates’ courts as best we can. Our magistrates’ courts face a number of challenges on a daily basis. These contribute to case backlogs. Backlog cases are cases which are on the roll for more than six months in the district courts and more than nine months in the regional courts. There are many different reasons why cases are postponed, such as, amongst others, load shedding, water outages, the unavailability of interpreters, postponements for further police investigations, the unavailability of legal practitioners, prosecutors or magistrates and/or malfunctioning court equipment.
Some of these factors fall within the area of responsibility of our department, whilst others are the responsibility of other criminal justice stakeholders. All of these reasons for postponements are continuously being tracked and monitored so that appropriate interventions can be made where these they fall within the responsibility of our department. Where they do not, we engage with the relevant stakeholders or the relevant stakeholder.
To combat the challenges of load shedding and water outages, the department has introduced a national facilities project for the installation of inverters, generators, solar systems, boreholes and water tanks in our courts. Of paramount importance going forward is the rationalisation of the judicial establishment of the lower courts as it will ensure we have the correct number of district and regional magistrates at each court. The Committee on the Rationalisation of the Lower Courts Judicial Establishments, under the chair of Mr Sam Makamu, is making progress and is expected to submit their report by the end of November this year. Some of the vacant magistrates’ posts cannot be filled if it is likely that that post may be moved to another court. There are, however, still acting magistrates appointed in these positions.
Access to justice also means improving the protection of rights of those who are vulnerable and making it easier for them to access the justice system as well as receiving the necessary support. The recently passed three Gender-Based Violence Amendment Acts, which are now all in effect, have drastically changed the architecture of the legal framework in the gender-based violence and femicide sector.
One of the salient changes introduced by the amendment Acts is the recognition of nonverbal communications as oral evidence. A witness under the age of 18 years or any witness who suffers from a physical, psychological, mental or emotional condition, which inhibits their ability to give oral evidence, may use demonstrations, gestures or any nonverbal expression, including the use of communication devices when testifying.
In the previous financial year, the department amended the minimum service standards for the strategy on reasonable accommodations and measures to access justice for courts users with disabilities in line with these legal developments. Some
70 lower courts were upgraded in line with these minimum standards to provide reasonable accommodations and disability- centric support services. A total of 145 disability-centric courts have been established nationwide in the previous two financial years, and in this financial year the department plans to upgrade an additional 65 lower courts to offer these reasonable accommodations.
The National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, has seen significant improvements in the expansion of its Thuthuzela Care Centres or TCCs, whilst maintaining high sexual offences conviction
rates, with a current conviction rate of 76%. To date there are 63 operational TCCs located in rural, urban and peri-urban communities nationally. The Jozini TCC in northern KwaZulu- Natal, which became operational on 1 May 2023, is the most recent addition.
Government’s National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence, the NSP, provided further impetus for the NPA to forge private sector partnerships to increase the number of TCCs and to re- accommodate or renovate existing TCCs. One such partnership with mediclinic resulted in the first TCC to be housed in an unused university student residence of the University of Stellenbosch. It is targeted to be launched as the Stellenbosch TCC later this year. To enhance access for the physically disabled, all TCCs are equipped with ramps.
In preparation for the declaration of Sign Language as the 12th official language, the NPA’s Sexual Offenses and Community Affairs, SOCA, Unit collaborated with the deaf community and the Wits Centre for Deaf Studies to produce a SA Sign Language video which welcomes deaf victims or survivors to the TCC, explains the TCC process and what each role- players does.
With the unabated increase of sexual violence in the country, the court system has to be responsive and more accessible to survivors of sex crimes so as to increase reporting and the use of the courts, while reducing the withdrawal rate by complainants in these cases. With regards to our Sexual Offences Courts, one of the provisions in the Judicial Matters Amendment Bill, which is currently before this House, amends section 55A of the Sexual Offences Act to enable the Minister to designate specific regional court places of sitting as sexual offences courts. Currently the definition of a regional court is the regional court of a province which includes all places of sitting.
The Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Act further recognises the use of ad hoc intermediaries at criminal and noncriminal proceedings. Previously, intermediary services were limited to child witnesses and persons with mental disabilities, but they are now available to older persons, as well as witnesses who suffer from a physical, psychological, mental or emotional condition. In order to increase the national numerical capacity of our intermediaries in this financial year, the department plans to employ additional 100
ad hoc intermediaries to appear at criminal and civil proceedings.
Pursuant to the recent changes introduced by this Parliament in the management of the National Register for Sex Offenders, which were made in response to the demands made by women in 2018 under the umbrella of #TheTotalShutDown, the department has since 31 July last year amended this register to include particulars of all convicted sex offenders, irrespective of the age and the mental status of the sex crime victim.
I would also then urge educators, lecturers and other workers at tertiary institutions, social workers, health care workers, care givers, employees at preschools and nurseries, employees at civil society organisations, and other persons who offer services directly to vulnerable persons to apply for the National Register for Sex Offenders, NRSO, clearance certificates as failure to do so amounts to a punishable offence. The department will also be introducing an online NRSO application solution to ensure make these services more accessible.
The integrated electronic repository for protection orders will be developed in this financial year to ensure that the whole of the Domestic Violence Amendment Act can come into effect. When this Act came into operation on 14 April this year, section 6A which requires the Director-General of Justice and Constitutional Development to establish this repository, was excluded. Through this repository, our courts will, amongst others, be able to be aware of protection orders made by another court. In this financial year, the department will also be developing a national strategy for domestic violence to create a seamless chain of value support services to survivors of domestic violence in the criminal justice system.
The violence and discrimination faced by the LGBTIQ+ community is rooted in historical and systemic discrimination linked to intolerance in some religious, cultural and traditional beliefs as well South Africa’s colonial and apartheid past.
Our Constitution, as well as legislative provisions such as the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, provide explicit protections against violence and discrimination, yet the LGBTIQ+ community
continues to face stigmatisation, violence and discrimination in their daily lives.
Many also report that they have challenges in accessing services from some government and other service providers. We are currently, once again, reviewing the National Intervention Strategy, NIS, on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Expression and Sex Characteristics Matters, so as to ensure that the activities in this NIS continue to meet the needs of LGBTIQ+ people.
The National Task Team, NTT, on Gender and Sexual Orientation Based Violence Perpetrated Against LGBTI Persons was initially established to respond to hate crimes against these communities. However, as the adoption of the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide’s national strategic plan includes violence against queer people, this means that the NTT has to reconsider its role. As a result, the reviewed NIS now addresses issues of access to broader human, socioeconomic, civil and political rights to LGBTIQ+ people in South Africa. The NIS focuses on prevention programmes to address violence and unfair discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, etc, as well as working with
faith-based organisations, traditional leaders, human rights organisations, public officials and institutions. It also includes capacity building of all officials at service points and service providers in order to address secondary victimisation.
As many are aware, in November last year Cabinet approved the publishing of the Criminal Law Sexual Offences and Related Matters Amendment Bill of 2022 with regard to the decriminalisation of sex work for public comments. The Bill aims to repeal the Sexual Offences Act, previously the Immorality Act of 1957 and also to repeal section 11 of the Criminal Law Sexual Offenses and Related Matters Amendment Act of 2007 to decriminalise the sale and purchase of adult sex services. Sex work and the question of how the South African legal system should respond to sex work has been the subject of considerable debate in South Africa.
The proposals of this Bill respond to the list of interventions proposed in pillar 3, which is the Protection, Safety and Justice of the National Strategic Plan on Gender- Based Violence and Femicide, which enjoins the criminal justice system to provide protection, safety and justice for
survivors of gender-based violence, and to effectively hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. Pillar 3 contains a list of key interventions, key activities and indicators.
One of the key activities under pillar 3 is the finalisation of legislative processes to decriminalise sex work – fast- tracking and promulgation. This follows the view that the on- going criminalisation of sex work contributes to gender-based violence and femicide as it leaves sex workers unprotected by the law, unable to exercise their rights and open to abuse generally, not least when they approach state facilities for assistance.
The Bill was published for public comment, with a closing date for comments being the end of January this year. The Bill deals only with the decriminalisation of sex work as an urgent step to ensure better protection for sex workers from gender- based violence and femicide, with the intention being to consider regulation as the second stage in the process.
In preparing the Bill for final approval by Cabinet, concerns have been raised by the state law advisers that the Bill may not pass constitutional muster if it does not also provide for the regulation of sex work. This view is supported by a legal
opinion from a senior counsel. This means that we will not be able to, at this point, proceed with the Bill in its current form. We will therefore be engaging with role-players and drafting provisions on the regulation of sex work so as to ensure that a revised Bill is ready for introduction at the beginning of the next administration. The decriminalisation of sex work and the human rights of sex workers remain high on government’s human rights agenda though, Mr Swart.
To conclude, we are entering the last year of the current administration. We do not have a minute to waste. We have one year left of this term in which to make a difference in the lives of people and to ensure that our communities receive the services they are entitled to. This budget will enable us to do so. I thank you.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Hon House Chairperson, yes, hon Papo we were together, yes indeed. We are together in the struggle to free and liberate Palestinians, no doubt about it.
Let me start of by saying: First of all hon House Chairperson, there is over 971 detainees that endure physical torture,
isolation and deliberate medical neglect at the hands of Israelis.
Mr S N SWART: Hon House Chairperson, on a point of order.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Shaik Emam. There is a point of order. Yes, Swart, what is the point of order?
Mr S N SWART: Hon House Chairperson, my point of order is: Would the hon member take a question about the prosecution of Muslims in other part of the world?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Shaik Emam, would you like to take a question?
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Hon House Chairperson, if the hon Swart gives me his three minutes next time, then I will answer his question. Thank you. I do not have time for it now.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): However, let me also say while we talk about justice, 16 women, were raped by Israeli soldiers in Palestine. Hon House Chairperson, not only
raped, the Video recordings which were used to blackmail these for a long period over 20 years. This is how serious is how serious the situation is and we have people coming here to try and defend the barbaric actions of Israel who has in no other way to explain it, but have gone there and unlawfully stole the land that belong to the Palestinian people, be that as it may.
Hon Chairperson we got up with some very bad news this morning. Six deaths in Mitchells Plain. Six young children going to school. It appears that the taxi did not comply with the regulations, but of course our condolences to the family and friends. Innocent children lost their lives.
Now, the department of Justice and Correctional Services, particularly is under tremendous pressure. Yes it has come to litigations. Not forgetting political parties’ squabbles.
However, very importantly, I think with the high levels of crime, can you imagine if one detective sits with over 200 dockets, what an impact it has on the entire justice system in the country?
So, I think we must be mindful of the fact that unless we deal with those root causes, of high levels of crime, the impact it is going to have on the justice system and the demand for more and more officials and budget is going to increase. We must understand and accept that.
However, be as it may, we seem to have a problem as far as maintenance officers, particularly, I think many people are self-employed and there is very little or no means of being able to identify or establish what is the true earning. Many people are evading it.
Hon Minister and Deputy Minister, I think another thing that we need to look at is the quality and the process followed in terms of appointments. I f you saw what happened in the weekly newspaper this week, on allegations made against Judge Sidwell Mngadi. More and more often we seem to be having complains coming in. It is something I think we need to be more stringent and address because once people lose trust and confidence in the judiciary which is the last line of protection for our people. You know and then we will have a serious problem in the country.
We agree that the budget allocation is not given the high demand as particularly the Department of Justice and Correctional Services, but again we need to strengthen the relationship of the SA Police Service and of course many cases are withdrawn because of poor Police work.
The NFP given the limited time will support this Budget Vote. Thank you very much.
Ms A RAMOLOBENG: Hon House Chairperson, hon members of this House, heads of the Chapter 9 institutions and entities receiving their budget allocation in this Vote, compatriots, comrades and friends, the ANC supports Budget Vote 25.Addressing a rally in Durban shortly after his release from prison Tata Nelson Mandela said and I quote:
Since my release, I have become more convinced than ever that the real makers of history are the ordinary men and women of our country. Their participation in every decision about the future is the only guarantee of true democracy and freedom.
Our National Development Plan Vision 2030, places emphasis on active citizenry. It states that all in South Africa must contribute and work towards realising the vision of a cohesive society. It says that government need citizens to speak out when things are going wrong. Active citizenry and social activism are necessary for democracy and development to flourish. A state cannot merely act on behalf of the people, it has to act with the people, working together with other institutions to provide opportunities for the advancement of all communities.
These sentiments are also echoed in the Sustainable Development Goals. In particular Goal 16 which calls for peace, justice and strong institutions. The Sustainable Development Goals highlights that without peace, stability, human rights and effective governance, based on the rule of law, we cannot hope for sustainable development. If further states that we are living in a world that is increasingly dived. Some regions enjoy sustained levels of peace, security and prosperity, while others fall into seemingly endless cycle of conflict and violence. This is by no means inivertible and must be addressed.
Some of the specific aims of the Sustainable Development Goals obliges us to promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all, develop, effective, accountable and aspirant institutions at all levels. Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory representative decision-making at all levels. Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.
Hon House Chairperson, one of the Department of Justice and Correctional Service primary aim is to ensure an accessible justice system that promotes constitutional values and to promote transparent, responsive and accountable justice services. Access to justice as a constitutional imperative, it is a fundamental right that unlocks access to all other rights enshrined in our Constitution.
Giving due regard to the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, this right has the power to transform our society into a just and equitable one by improving social and economic conditions.
Our transformative Constitution forms the bedrock of our quest to improve the quality of life for all in South Africa.
The court remains the coalface in delivering justice and to ensure that this happens, we rely on an efficient and effective judiciary.
As the ANC we remain committed to the independence of the judiciary in our country, because it is our view that for justice to be seen it must be impartial of all social, economic and political stakeholders on the various conflicts litigated in our courts.
We cannot talk to access to justice without talking about legal representation in the case of Hlantlala vs Dyantyi. The Supreme Court of Appeal, observed that common law and accused had a right to be advised on his legal representation and in particular of availability of legal aid trough the Legal Aid Board.
Hon House Chairperson, we appreciate the important role played by Legal Aid SA. It ensures that even those who cannot afford receive sustainable, ethical, quality and independent legal
services. For too long in our history, our people suffered injustice because of they either did not know their rights or could not access their rights. Legal representation gives meaning to the transformative rights in our Constitution, even in the face of budgetary constraints. Legal Aid SA is excelling in meeting its obligations. This must be commended.
Another way the department has made justice more accessible is through the way of Small Claims Court. This court functions on the basis of speed, simplicity and cost-effectiveness. They provide a forum for the resolution of certain civil claims of up to R15 000. No legal representations are allowed in this courts. Small Claims Courts were created with a view to eliminate time consuming adversarial procedures before and during the trial. We have a functioning Small Claims Court in every magisterial district across the country.
Hon House Chairperson, as the Sixth Administration draws to an end, we take stock of what President Ramaphosa said in His inaugural state of the nation address. I quote:
We will urgently attend to the leadership issues at the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure that this critical
institution is stabilised and able to perform its mandate unhindered, without fear, without favour and prejudice.
We must acknowledge the significant progress made in this regard. The ANC-led government is committed in the fight against fraud, corruption and maladministration, hon Breytenbach. In strengthening the fight against crime and corruption, the 2023 ANC Lekgotla noted in key areas in the security sector. This include the additional recruitment of police officers and the strengthening of key institutions such as the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA. The Lekgotla called for an integrated programme which will ensure that South Africa is a crime free society by 2030.
We appreciate the significant progress in renewing the NPA and the reinstatement of the aspirant prosecutors’ programme which has seen more than thousand new employees brought into the fold over the past three years.
One of the weak points that have been identified in the criminal justice system is the Silo approach in the fight against fraud and corruption. Today we see greater levels of collaboration and co-ordination between the investigative
directorates, Asset Forfeiture Unit, a Specialised Commercial Crime Unit, Special Investigating Unit and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations.
We appreciate that the department has received additional allocation totalling to R3,7 billion. The majority of which is allocated to the National Prosecuting Authority, to strengthen capacity and advance the recommendations of the State Capture Commission.
Hon House Chairperson, Madiba said and I quote:
We speak here of a challenge of the dichotomies of war and peace, violence and nonviolence, racism and human dignity, oppression and repression and liberty and human rights, poverty and the freedom of want.
It is important for us as legislatures to reflect on what we have done to address some of these dichotomies. Among others, we have passed progressive legislation including the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill which reaffirm the right to human dignity. We have recently passed the Constitutional 18th Amendment Bill, to have SA Sign Language as the 12th official
language. We have anaited legislation which affords the protection and promotion of rights of women and children and the legislation that will ensure land justice.
We have built strong state institutions. We have played and continue to play an oversight role over the department to ensure that South Africa is a better place for all. Much has been done and much still needs to be done.
Hon House Chairperson, the ANC supports Budget Vote No 25. I thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Thank you very much, hon member.
Hon members, can I get your attention.
The ruling on the point of order raised by the hon Radebe against the hon Yako – the reason why I only noted the point of order made by the hon Radebe, is because I wanted to give it some more attention for clarity purposes.
After the hon Yako had finished her speech, the hon Radebe raised a point of order from the virtual platform. His point of order was made on Rule 85 which prohibits a member from imputing improper motives to another member – casting personal reflections upon a member’s integrity or dignity or verbal abuse of a member in any other way.
Following Rule 92, a point of order must be confined only to a matter of parliamentary procedure or practice or a matter relating to unparliamentary conduct as defined and must be raised immediately when the alleged bridge of order occurs.
So, we always emphasize that a point of order must be raised immediately when the alleged bridge of order occurs.
The point of order by the hon Radebe came at the time when it was the hon Msimang at the podium. So, it was late. If it could have come at the right time, it could have been sustained. However, because it came late it was not. So, it is not out of order.
Mr B A RADEBE: Hon House Chairperson.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Radebe, let us not come to that.
Mr B A RADEBE: Hon House Chairperson, there is a problem with the House and the virtual platform. There is a problem of time being behind. The information, and communication technology, ITC, that is why last week I wrote a letter to the Speaker.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Radebe, I rule you out of order.
Mr B A RADEBE: Hon House Chairperson, please! That is why last week, I wrote a letter to the Speaker.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Radebe, I rule you out of order.
The next speaker is the hon Jafta.
Mr S M JAFTA: Hon Chair, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is facing a number of complex challenges. The work of the State Capture Commission laid a complex work of corruption and abuse of state resources driven
not only in the National Prosecuting authority, NPA, but also the entire criminal justice system.
There are a glaring inefficiencies in prosecuting the most basic of crimes and the interpreted justice framework has not been a success. The victims of crime and whistle-blowers have inadequate protection from the law. Diversion programmes for children found on the wrong side of the law have failed and locking children up with common criminals must be condemned.
Hon Chair, we are concerned with the slow pace of implementing some of the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission. Such are the delay in reforming the Criminal Law Amendment Act in order to regulate prosecution.
We are also unmoved by the poor handling of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, TRCs, recommendations on reparations. Millions of our people run down by the apartheid regime and who were due to receive reparations are still languishing in poverty. It is also shameful that many of the PAC combatants are still languishing in jail after years of imprisonment.
The families of Marikana workers killed for demanding the restoration of their human dignity are still without hope. The journey is out of the boggle.
Hon Chair, we will in due course write to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development to introduce an Executive Bill to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. This is because as it stands section 46(4a) of Reca empowered the Minister of Justice if he has exempted any law enforcement agency from the Prohibited Act of possessing and purchasing any equipment that is designed to intercept communications to table an exemption certificate before the Assembly for approval. This process must be fulfilled and self-cleansing.
In this regard, rather than relying on the recommendations of Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development that, such certificate be approved by the National Assembly
We will recommend an amendment that will see a retired judge permanently employed in the Speaker’s Office served with the responsibility of assessing the legal need of such recommendations before they reach Assembly for approval.
Hon Chair, it will be remiss of us not to acknowledge the work of the Special Investigating Unit, SIU, particularly under the able leadership of Adv Mothiba. The SIU has been a model of success and continues to be leading a torch bearer with the criminal justice. We support this Budget Vote, hon Chair.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr S S Somyo): Hon Jafta, please if you are on the visual platform use your ears as well. Your time was up. Thank you very much.
Mnu M NYHONTSO: Enkosi Chwama. [Thank you Chwama.]
House Chairperson, a very strong pillar of the constitutional democracy is the efficacy of the judiciary. We expect the judiciary to be objective, independent and free from unwarranted influence from the Executive. Once this happens, it would mean the judiciary is working on quicksand. The PAC raised concerns with a case in the Western Cape High Court, in which powerful figures in the Executive authorities said to have made irregular and unlawful calls to the judge to express
their views and wishes on the outcomes of the court ruling. We have lodged the complaint officially with the Western Cape High Court.
We are aware of the cat and mouse games that are stretched in the courts to make the cases go away. This will never happen in our watch. We understand the war of attrition, which is meant to exhaust the parties victimised by the elongated time to resolve the matter. The social justice is an ever-present feature in the struggle of communities of the poor. We are constantly short-changed when it comes to the provision of utilities like safe and clean water, electricity, garbage collection, roads maintenance and inspection of municipalities that goods sold in local outlets are fit and proper for human consumption.
The judiciary cannot be twofaced about the ills of social injustice. The PAC sees that the majority of the Azanian people cannot be robbed of a quality life and the standard of living that is on par with the benefits of modern technology. The African people cannot continue to be maimed and murdered by thugs and robbers who soon after being arrested can be seen roaming the streets and laughing at the victims, because the
judiciary treats the failures of the prosecutors with kid gloves. Ja [yes] Comrade Hope. Minister ...
... khulula amabanjwa ...
... of the Azanian People’s Liberation Army, Apla from prison, they fought for freedom. Even those that have been released, they are prisoners they are signing for paroles and parole is an extension of the sentence.
Elinye ibanjwa le-Apla lilapha kule Ndlu nguKenny Motsamai usasayina ...
... even to date. We also demand Sobukhwe’s audio recordings. But the most criminal act that was ever committed by the justice system in this country was committed against Mike Stainbank, the founder of Apartheid Museum, and we demand justice for him. Release Apla cadres ...
... umxelele uMphathiswa ...
... Comrade Nqola. The PAC supports this Budget Vote.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Hon Chair, Al-Jama-ah support this budget. We are very grateful to the Minister for his effort to reopen the inquest into the death of Imam Abdullar Haron. We look forward to the Minister opening the inquest into the death of Chief Albert Luthuli. Al-Jama-ah is a bit concern while we support this budget that the Special Investigating Unit, SIU, has to beg for money to fund investigations and they have to depend on different departments in government to pay them when the job is done. And then still they had to send an invoice and wait 30 days. That is not in the interest of justice.
Al-Jama-ah welcomes plan to develop a system to ensure constant barrier free access to justice for persons with disabilities which is of course is long overdue. And yet, the department must be congratulated. Many gender-based violence and domestic violence cases occurred due to a father’s failures to pay maintenance. Women are often vulnerable to the
attack attacked when asking the fathers for maintenance ... [Inaudible.] ... But the department itself is committing a great injustice to women and children by ... [Inaudible.] ... the claimant discriminated against as it does not receive cash for transport and food expenses for the day as in the case of the perpetrator which is men who refuses to pay maintenance.
However, the portfolio committee has thrown a life line to address this and we would like to thank them. Al-Jama ah support this budget.
Mr W HORN: Chair, our country is at deeper point. What happens in the next two years will determine whether we will be classified as a fail state or not? We are at this moment awakening increasingly failing with our justice system and specifically the criminal justice system at best limping like a wounded soldier. Therefore, the reflection on the budgeted performance of the Department of Justice and the entities institutions funded through its Budget Vote must be focused on what we can do to prevent our beloved country from graduating into being a fail state.
Minister, the first requirement is a real urgency around strengthening the fight against corruption. Tell what has been
done at the moment to delivering the type of result that foster confidence in the system. Unfortunately, Minister, today you again in very vague term promise strengthening the institutions that fight corruption. Therefore, we must ask, how can it be that seven months after the President announced as part of the of his instituted of the Zondo Commission report that the Investigative Directorate is to become a permanent feature that the legislative amendments to make this reality is still really nowhere to be seen.
Today, Minister, you referred to national Prosecuting Authority, NPA, Amendment Bill. Where is that Bill? The clock is ticking. Why if we really want to fortify our constitutional democracy and the rule of law against the type of subversion it was subjected to between 2003 and 2018 is not a commitment to establishing of fully independent and to corruption body. Fire words by the type of protection Chapter
9 institutions in the Auditor-General enjoys.
Minister, how can it be that you and your department jet of on a benchmarking to Canada whistle-blower protection regime.
Then today you tell us that you did further of research and that this reveal there is gaps in the protocol. We all knew
that. This is much more urgent than that, Minister. Why do you fail and refuse even if an entry measures to simply extend witness protection protocol to those who want to blow the whistle on serious corruption as suggested to you by the NPA two years ago already?
Chair, and while the fight against corruption and improve whistle-blower protection has been full up until now as less cluster, careless even lazy attitudes. Those who have gone to school corruption activities on how graduating into full- fledged organised crime.
Minister, there is a dire need to act now and to act decisively against organised crime and mafia style activities. This must be done immediately to strangle gangsterism cartels in our communities will push us over the cliff into the valley into destination that’s honest failed status. That there was no announcement on this today.
Chair, on an operational level it must be ask how it can be accepted as the so-called new normal that the functionality of online and electronic system of the department is only partial restored after a deliberate ransom somewhere attack post by
the basic in-house failure two years renew antivirus and protection. How can it be accepted, Chair, as the new normal that officials are quite often all over the country left with no other option but use personal cell phone and own air time and data that assist victims of crime simply because contracts for landlines telephone services are either not renewed or services.
Minister, if you are told by your top officials that everything at service point is hanky door please don’t believe them. There is a huge disjuncture between what your top officials report of officials and what is a reality at service point. When we as members of the portfolio committee irrespective whether is personal visit or formal oversight visit of Parliament engage with those working in our courts where are informed that slow often online system continue problems with court technology audio visual system in sexual offence court that is continuously not working alongside serious weaknesses in the provision of security in adult courts and struggle to get the most basic of maintenance to our court building standard. Not only undermine but the morale objective ability of the state role players in the justice system to deliver.
Chair, it becomes what of a clean sheet that says the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing expect different differ rent outcomes. But yet when it comes to the development of the integrated justice system and specifically the integrated criminal justice system and the way in which the same interventions given different names are continuously being announced by the department to get this project going a project which is over the last decades got hundreds of millions rands without any working product never being inside. This is exactly what comes to mind.
Again today, Minister, phrases like modernisation and digitisation was thrown around by you as if that project was not initialised in 2011 already. At some point, Minister, responsible thing must surely be to admit failure and if necessary ready to start from scratch. This time bypassing, mediocratic ANC cadres which continued involvement will again fail to deliver a function system. Only the involvement of real expects can give this project a realistic chance of success. Is as simple as that.
Chair, is five minutes to midnight even the Deputy Minister say today to the Minister he doesn’t have time to waste.
Therefore, Minister, the time is now to start showing some urgency and greet. Thank you.
Mr X NQOLA: House Chair, allow us to extend our greetings to you, the Minister, the Deputy Minister and the members of the House, firstly, I wish to plead with you, House Chair, that you don’t allow Mr Paulsen to attempt to downgrade this House into a gossip forum. He hears some fictitious things there out on the streets and comes to this House screaming and kicking and wants to drag this House to that thing. However, hon Hope Papo, made a proper summary that the problem is that Mr Paulsen is a political lightweight. Thank you.
Mr N M PAUSLEN: Chairperson, what are we debating? Justice and Constitutional Development or ... [Interjections.] ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr S S Somyo): ... hon Paulsen, hon Paulsen, sit down. If you want to be recognised, then you can raise your hand.
Mr X NQOLA: In the case of Tshabalala versus the state and Ntuli versus the state, the Constitutional Court made the following remarks: Rape is a very serious offense, prosecuting
as it does and humiliating, degrading brutal invasion of the privacy, the dignity of the person and of the victim. The right to dignity and privacy and the integrity of every person are basic ethos of the Constitution and any defensible civilisation. Women in this country entitled to protection of these rights, they have legitimate claim to work peacefully on the streets or enjoy their shopping and their entertainment, to go and come from work, to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of their homes without the fear of their pension and the insecurity which constantly diminishes the quality of enjoyment of their lives.
The Court further says, the facts of this case demonstrate that for far too long rape is being used as a tool to relegate the women of this country to second class citizens over whom men can exercise their power and control and in so doing, strip them of their rights to equality, human dignity and ... [Inaudible.] ... The high incidence of sexual violence suggests that male control over women and notions of sexual entitlement features strongly in their social construction of masculinity in South Africa. Some men view sexual violence as a method of reasserting masculinity and controlling women.
As we debate on this Budget Vote on Justice and Constitutional Development, it is important that we take a moment and consider the most vulnerable in our society who are suffering injustices. We remember the men and women who have lost their lives through gender-based violence and femicide. We remember those members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender queer and intersex, LGBTQI, community who were violated, some murdered because of their sexual orientation, we remember the persons living in disability were harmed and unfortunately were unable to express themselves, we remember those who opted not to report those acts of violence inflicted upon them and chose to live in silence. No one should ever go to such ordeals.
Everyone in this country has a legitimate right to human dignity not to be violated. This Budget Vote is meant among others to address those issues. In fact, this Budget Vote is meant to ensure that justice is not only done but also seen to be done. Hon Chair, gender-based violence goes against the ethos of the Bill of Rights which is a serious human rights violation with major social and developmental impacts for survivors of violence as well as their families, communities and society at large. On an individual level, gender-based
violence leaves a psychological trauma and can have psychological behavioural and physical consequence for survivors.
In many parts of the country there is a poor access to formal psychosocial or even medical support, which means that many survivors unable to access the help they need. Families and loved ones of survivors can also experience indirect trauma and many do not know how to provide effective support. As the Sixth Administration is near its sunset and we reflect on the way done, we will remember that President Ramaphosa expressed the country’s commitment in addressing this scourge of gender- based violence and femicide and announced the emergency response plan to address gender-based violence which includes strengthening the applicable legislative framework.
As the legislative arm of the state, we are seized with the duty to create laws to this effect. Parliament considered and pass what is commonly referred to as the Three Bills on gender-based violence. Making good of his commitment, the President assented to laws that stand and fight against gender-based violence in January last year. These pieces of legislation are the Criminal and Related Matters Act, the
Domestic Violence Amendment Act and the Criminal Law Sexual Offences and Related Matters Amendment Act. We welcome the new directives in terms of the Domestic Violence Amendment Act 2021, which commenced on the 04 April 2023.
The correctives-imposed detectives on the office managers, supervisors and clerks of the court when dealing with cases of domestic violence. If any official does not comply with the new directives disciplinary action will be taken against them. We also welcome the inclusion of a new indicator in the department’s annual performance plan, ... [Inaudible.] ... of domestic violence protection orders served by the clerks of the court on practice present according 24 hours from the time the order is granted to the court. This is an important step towards improving the treatment of gender-based violence victims.
In communities across South Africa Thuthuzela Care Centers offer comfort, medical care, access to legal system and counselling for survivors of sexual violence. Centers are a partnership between donors and government departments under the leadership of the national prosecuting authority’s sexual offences and community affairs, Thuthuzela Care Centers are a
critical tool in governance integrated strategy to combat sexual violence. The centres link police stations with clinics and hospital and the re-established sexual offences court.
Thuthuzela Care Centers’ most important roles is to support victims.
The philosophy is respect comfort restoring dignity and ensuring justice for children and women who are victims of sexual violence. We know that the National Prosecution Authority reports that it exceeded its targets for the conviction of sexual offences and another positive development ... [Inaudible.] ... Hon Yako, the National Prosecution Authority you called toothless is the one who has exceeded a target and increased the availability of Thuthuzela Care Centers from 55 to 62. The NPA is working with the private sector to set up new Thuthuzela Centers.
Further, much work is being done on the DNA backlog project despite the many challenges and appears to be paying dividends, this is welcomed. Chairperson, research shows that gender-based violence negatively impacts the physical, mental and sexual health of victims, as well as the social and economic aspects of their lives. For example, there is
emerging evidence that gender-based violence may result in children growing up without their biological fathers. There is a positive of literature on further absence in Africa.
Published data suggest that between 30% and 50% of South African children grow up without their biological fathers, with black African children being most affected.
Father absence is a term that is rare to find in the literature. However, that is a showing that fathers can be absent in the lives of their children fully, partially economically and emotional. The term “father” stands in this study refers to biological fathers who were absent in the lives of their children due to disappearance in the early stages of their child’s life or those who are known to be alive or perceived to be alive but since the early stages of the child’s life have been emotionally and economically absent leading to children feeling neglected or abandoned.
While there is a scant literature on this topic in South Africa mounting evidence suggests that growing up with an absent father is a risk factor for perpetration by boys or men. Studies have demonstrated that men who perpetrate violence against women are likely to be those who did not
reside with their biological fathers, had poor father-son relations or did not even know their fathers. This then backs the questions, what are we doing as men in society? what role are we playing in our homes as fathers, brothers, uncles and partners in ensuring a safer South Africa?
Women in South Africa deserve to be safe and free from all forms of violence. We all have a role to play in making South Africa very much great. Chair, when time allows, we, the ANC will roll out a debate on what we call, the motive forces of our own people so that we are able to, at least, unleash some teachings towards some of the members in the House. It is those who stand to benefit the most from the gains of the revolution. So, hon Yako does not have to come here and try to present herself as a representative of the poor whilst we have a stand on what is the motive force, which is only the ANC that represents the motive forces in our country.
Hon Chairperson, there is an issue that keeps on popping when we are discussing, of a particular fictitious persecution of the public protector, which I think we must stand here particularly as Members of the Justice Portfolio Committee and as members of the section 194 committee, we draw our mandate
from the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, section 194; we draw our mandate from the Rules of the National Assembly and we draw our mandate from the court rulings that have been issued out or ordered by the various courts of South Africa that actually allow us to proceed with our work on behalf of the people of South Africa.
Hon House Chair, hon Mulder comes here and just tell us that he has just given up and they are hopeless and that they can’t be a majority party themselves. So, they rely on his spaza- shop kind of a perceived coalition that they do not strive to be a party that represent the vast of our own people in that they must create some relations with them to lead our own people. Hon Shaik and hon Deputy Minister, we agree that we still relate with the struggles of the Palestinian people, undoubtedly. We relate with the struggles of the people of Palestine and we still believe that through the international solidarity as a pillar of our revolution the people from Palestine will be free. Hon Chair, the ANC support the Budget Vote. Thank you.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr S S Somyo): Thank you very much hon Nqola, the next speaker is hon Minister of Justice and Correctional
Services. Welcome hon Minister, hon Nqola has saved two minutes, they say I’ve been so generous to you, hon Minister, save your time.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: House
Chairperson, and I thank all hon members for their constructive inputs. Indeed ... [Interjection.]
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr S S Somyo): Sorry hon Minister, hon Mahlatsi.
Mr M S MALATSI: House Chair, it’s Malatsi.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr S S Somyo): Thank you very much.
Mr M S MALATSI: Thanks very much, and apologies to the Minister, but House Chair I do think it’s correct that the members can transfer their time to the Minister. That would be inappropriate, so can we correct that, so that the Minister uses his own time? Thank you.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr S S Somyo): Thank you very much. If you turn around and look into what is presented and now it’s a real time for the Minister, which is five minutes, Minister.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: House
Chairperson, all the constructive inputs will help us to build this capable state of ours. Indeed, there’s no government in the world that does not have challenges. This issue is how as a country, as a state rise above those challenges, respond to them, confront them. And I think that this Sixth Administration is capable of confronting the challenges facing this country.
And is for that reason that we continue to provide the necessary support to National Prosecuting Authority and as I have said, we have given them the additional grant of
R915 million for them to be able to attend to the crippling challenges of crime that the country is facing; organised crime, corruption, and related matters, including the challenges that are faced by state-owned enterprises. And you would realise that there are cases that are already enrolled, related to some of the state-owned enterprises, Electricity Supply Commission, Eskom, Transportation network, Transnet,
the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, PRASA. And there’s also been about R4 billion reparation amount that has been paid back by activity-based budgeting, ABB to the fiscus of this country.
So, that shows that the wheels of justice are already rolling in this regard. And the Special Investing Unit, SIU has also recovered millions of rands. The Asset Forfeiture Unit has also obtained recoveries, which amount to about R2,83 billion, which is a clear, concrete evidence of the work that is happening within the National Prosecuting Unit Authority.
And there could have been cases and challenges, but the reality is that the wheels of justices is turning. And with cases that they are handling almost annually, the conviction rate is very high. So collectively as a country we have a responsibility to provide a support and give them the necessary resources that they need. And that is what we have done, as a Department of Justice and Correctional Services.
With regards to the issues raised for the Legal Aid South Africa, the transfer of the Land Right Management Facility, there’s have been revolutionary intervention by the state. If
there are challenges that crippling in because of that, it is what we need to attend. But we are continuously engaging with Treasury to assist to find the resources and the money that must cover the gab, that came through as a result of the contingent ability.
With regards to the cases that they’ve said we have bungled; we have not bungled any matter including the Gupta extradition case. We have complied with every requirement as per the Extradition Treaty between South and the United Arab Emirates, UAE, and as a result we will have a meeting with the authorities in the UAE, on 5th of June to iron out all the issues that emanated from the matter and also on the way forward. The red notice remains valid which means that if the Gupta brothers go to any country where the red notice is active, there is still an obligation to that country to arrest them. So, the matter has not been bungled, it is being handled and we are proceeding.
And this hon members were also very critical about the Bushiri matter, now that the wheels of justice are rolling in Malawi as they are supposed to, the members are shifting the goal post. But we are going to allow the courts of Malawi to
process the matter so that justice prevails. And we want to assure South Africans that with all extradition matters, they are protracted in their nature, but justice will prevail at the end. They will definitely come back at some stage to answer for all the crimes that they must account for in our country.
We will continue to engage and work with all our sister departments, the SA Police Service to ensure that we confront and deal with crime in this country, which is a necessary mandate of this department. So that all South Africans feel free and safe. And all the challenges will be attended to.
The Judicial Service Commission has advertised or published the criteria for the appointment of judges on members who have raised issues in that regard. And those will definitely address the challenges that have been raised. And we want to thank all members for the contributions. This budget vote will enable us to help fight organised crime and make South Africa a free and a safer society. Thank you very much.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr S S Somyo): Thank you hon Minister, hon members with the end of the debate, members are reminded that
House hybrid plenary to debate Parliament’s Budget Vote will take place at 14:00 in the Good Hope Chamber. That concludes the debate and the business of this Mini-Plenary session. The Mini-Plenary will now rise.
The mini plenary rose at: 12:03